Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Selling through blogs

I spotted an article in Sunday's paper by Kelly K. Spors about using social media to bond with customers, read here:

This was geared toward small businesses in general, and covered the importance of internet phenomena like Twitter, Facebook and blogs to create a presence, interact with customers and the like.

The thing that struck me was, after mentioning the various networking options, it relayed advice from Lyn Mettler of Step Ahead Web Strategies: "...it's important that businesses don't use social media to directly try to sell their products." And then quotes her directly: "Clearly, these tools are about being authentic and not selling."

This advice came as a surprise since I am aware of artists who successfully sell art on their blogs and I was considering doing the same. It's not that they don't have separate websites for displaying art for sale - they do. It's not that they are hobbyist - they are fully engaged in trying to make at least part of their living from selling art.

So what do you think? Is it inappropriate or bad business sense to be selling art on a blog? Does it turn you off when a blogger you follow suddenly posts something for sale?

And yes, today's picture is totally unrelated to the topic. It's just that my geraniums are doing so well this year and I know you all like pictures with your posts.


Lyn Mettler said...

Hi there-
I guess the real intention of my quote in the article is just to be careful you're not just using the blog to sell yourself, because if you are, it won't be interesting enough for anyone to read and come back to.

I think with artists, and maybe authors, it's a bit different. Clearly your fans/followers/readers love your work and that's why they're paying attention, so I think mentioning a work for sale here and there is perfectly appropriate and probably expected.

I'd say take it on a case by case basis, but definitely don't be out there with purely promotional content, saying how great you are. Instead, try to provide useful information to the reader.

What do you think?

Olga Norris said...

Lyn's reply seems all good common sense. I think that blogs are either interesting or not. Some are interesting almost always - others worth visiting from time to time.

If folks want to try selling from their blogs it is up to the potential customer whether they stay or go. That's the joy of the blogging network.

I guess the main question you have to ask is whether the folks who read your blog are the same folks who would buy your work. If yes, then go for it.

Lindsay Jean said...

The times that I have purchased items I found in a blog, it was because the seller had links and pictures of what was in their Etsy shop. The blog itself usually focused on the process of creating the item.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this. They all make sense to me. I often go on my own reactions, and I don't think I've ever been driven away from a blog because of the occasional (and I emphasis occasional) item for sale. It kind of feels special, like an insider getting first crack at an opportunity before the piece goes to a larger audience.

Oddly enough, though, I am a bit put off by blog promotions of sales through Etsy - not links in the sidebar but blog posts announcing items over there for sale. I guess that comes across more like advertising to me, and I resent my blog time being taken up by that. As Lindsay noted, I follow most blogs because of either the chance to follow an artist's process or because he/she poses interesting questions or observations.

Perhaps announcements of new merchandise is better handled through Twitter?